It's amazing what winning an assload of Academy Awards can do for one's respectability. A few years ago, Danny Boyle was struggling to get people to see his science-fiction film Sunshine, but ever since Slumdog Millionaire scored eight Oscars, the dude's getting offered more directing gigs than he can handle—not to mention a double feature of two of his early films, 1994's Shallow Grave and 1996's Trainspotting, this weekend at the Northwest Film Center.
It's great to have both of those films back on the big screen—but even if you hit the Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium this weekend, you'll likely want to rearrange your Netflix queue to catch more of Boyle's genre-defying work.
Trainspotting, arguably Boyle's best, is still—just as it was in '96—sly and thrilling and terrifying and exhilarating. Boyle's solid first feature, the thriller Shallow Grave, has more arthouse devotees, but it lacks the heady verve that characterizes Boyle at his best—for that, you'll have to revisit 2002's badass zombie flick 28 Days Later. Ignore the film's goofy opening (in which we find out that zombies are caused by grumpy monkeys) and focus on Boyle's nerve-wracking, post-apocalyptic London. In a similar vein, Sunshine follows a stressed-out crew of astronauts who are sent to reignite our dying sun; though it veers into slasher silliness for its climax, it's still pretty fantastic. And then there's Millions, Boyle's 2004 film about two kids who find a giant sack of money: It's charming and enjoyable, and if your mom loved Slumdog's feel-good finale, you should probably show her this instead of Boyle's movies about zombies and junkies.
As with any filmmaker who takes risks, Boyle has some duds: You can avoid 1997's clunky, ill-advised follow-up to Trainspotting, the crime/romcom A Life Less Ordinary (more proof that Cameron Diaz ruins everything!), and also the follow-up to that film, 2000's oft-derided Leonardo DiCaprio thriller The Beach. But other than those? Hit the Whitsell this weekend, and then have at.